It's that time of year again. Every critic in town is making those lists and checking them twice. Best-of lists, that is.
One of the most eagerly anticipated is the Toronto International Film Festival Group's, entitled Canada's Top Ten. This year's crop of the best in Canadian cinema, judged by an industry jury of nine, was announced Tuesday (December 13) in a starry celebration hosted by Brent Carver and Lisa Ray.
The films, listed in alphabetical order (along with their directors) are:
C.R.A.Z.Y. (Jean-Marc Valle)
Familia (Louise Archambault)
A History Of Violence (David Cronenberg)
Horloge Biologique (Ricardo Trogi)
The Life And Hard Times Of Guy Terrifico (Michael Mabbott)
Memory For Max, Claire, Ida And Company (Allan King)
La Neuvaine (Bernard Émond)
A Simple Curve (Aubrey Nealon)
Water (Deepa Mehta)
Where The Truth Lies (Atom Egoyan)
Judging from this list of films - six of which I've seen - it was a good year, with strong representation from film vets (Cronenberg, Mehta, Egoyan) and newcomers (Mabbott and Archambault made feature debuts). All 10 films were screened at TIFF, and six of them received healthy runs soon after the fest. (Compare this to 2003, when only half that number had been released commercially at the same time.)
Among the omissions are Clment Virgo's Lie With Me, David Christensen's Six Figures and Amnon Buchbinder's Whole New Thing. Six Figures is one of six films to be screened at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan during its Canada Front series in March 2006. And Whole New Thing is getting released next year as well.
All 10 films screen with intros, Q&As and panel discussions January 27 to February 5 at Cinematheque Ontario. Tickets are now on sale (www.topten.ca, 416-968-FILM).
If you can't wait, a few are still playing in first-run theatres, including Water, C.R.A.Z.Y. and A History Of Violence. Look for King's remarkable doc Memory For Max, Claire, Ida And Company on TVO's The View From Here series.
Or check out this week's rep cinemas: Mabbott's The Life And Hard Times Of Guy Terrifico, a mockumentary about a fictional country singer, plays along with Where The Truth Lies at the Paradise and then screens once at the Revue Cinema.